Plans

I love planning things. I love goals. I love calendars, and schedules, and thinking through  all of the steps I would need to complete in order to achieve my ideal lifestyle.

What usually happens is that I see the big picture that I want to achieve, and then try to do it all at once. Of course, it becomes too much, even when I have an entire summer break, and I get discouraged and slowly but surely fall back  into my old routines, forgetting my amazing plans.

Obviously, this isn’t a very good technique then, is it? 🙂 It’s so interesting, because I used to be incredibly disciplined – when I was a teenager actually. Isn’t that so backwards? At one time I was a vegetarian who exercised diligently 3-4x a week (cardio and yoga separately) weighed about 130 pounds, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, meditated *daily*, got enough sleep, and didn’t even have facebook. This was between the ages of 16 and 22. Crazy, right? I’m not saying I want a more restrictive lifestyle, I’m just saying I used to have the willpower to say “no” or “sure, I want to do that now, but it’s not worth it because ______ is my belief, or goal.” I used to believe that it was worth it to stick to these activities because, overall it would improve my quality of life, and unlike now, I actually lived that way.

So what happened? Indulgence, I guess.  I started with – well, wouldn’t it feel good to just relax instead? And in many ways I think I needed to let up a little. My social life was seriously lacking. It’s just unsettling how much a little bit of extra relaxation has turned to complete lack of motivation. The fact that I work 50-60 hours a week during the school year doesn’t help much either, but that’s not an excuse for living a lifestyle I’m not proud of, that doesn’t energize me.

I’m going to do something my therapist affectionately calls, a “throw-up” list. 🙂 You’re about to see all of my lifestyle change goals, in no particular order. Feel free to skip this  – it’s likely to be pretty boring.

Lose 15 pounds, exercise 3-4 times a week, daily activity that is the “foundation” for my daily experience – be it yoga, meditation, or walking to work – learn Hungarian at an advanced conversational level – this isn’t totally random, my husband is Hungarian and as you know, I feel at home in Hungary – 7 hours of sleep, stick to my monthly budget, spend more active time with my dog, walk or bike to work – never drive, drink wine or liquor – avoid beer, be myself 100% of the time, – avoid obsessively reading other people’s body language and modifying my behavior accordingly – journal, learn new things, plan meals – make grocery lists and vague weekly menus, take care of my appearance – clothes, make-up, hygiene (not obsessively), routinely clean my house, classroom and car so that the mess doesn’t become overwhelming, travel often and sometimes completely on my own, choose the right way, not the shortcut, help others whenever I can, write, build-up my “chosen family” support system and depend on my family less, and I think I could keep going, but I won’t. 🙂

Between school ending and leaving for this vacation, I focused on working out about 20 minutes  a day, eating better using MyFitnessPal as a guide, and following a simple cleaning routine. Even though I’m now on vacation, I want to keep moving forward, but I will have a different focus. (It would be wasteful to pass up tasty desserts and food that are unique to Hungary!)

So, for this week, I will focus on these 5 points. Let me know if you think I’m still overdoing it. Moderation is something I struggle with!

1. 20 minutes of cardio.

2. Brief yoga or meditation

3.  Almost daily journaling or blogging

4. A few minutes of organizing

5. Careful with what I eat (i.e. snacking less, drinking wine or liquor rather than beer)

I love this one:

 image

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Relief

I had no idea that the talk with my dear friend would lead to such relief. Panic has not come back to me in a big way since the afternoon before I talked to him. It is so nice to feel a little bit more like myself  again, to be assured that although this will come back in waves, it’s not a permanent state of  being.

My husband is out of town this weekend, so I plan to enjoy having our new place to myself, wake up early, spend time outside, do a little work (the fun stuff!) but definitely not too much, catch up with a couple friends, and of course spend time with the pup.

In talking with my friend, we’ll call him Sam, and my husband, I came to realize that as easy as it is to blame this episode on work, or problems with my marriage, or the trauma that led us to moving so suddenly, the source of my anxiety is simply: not feeding my soul for too damn long. It’s me just getting by, surviving life one day at a time. Of course these other factors intensified things, but with the way I’ve been living, it was just a matter of time.

This is something I’ve known for years actually, but I just maxed out, and my body did/is doing what it had to to get my attention.

Because I love myself, I’m really sorry it had to get this bad in order for me to wake up and recognize I really need to change.

I’m thankful this relief has made some space for change. It’s yogatime. 🙂

 

 

Happy to Sleep

I’m not going to pretend like today was perfect, because it definitely wasn’t. My panic followed me to sleep, stayed with me throughout the night, and greeted me with the alarm clock in the AM. It didn’t fade until mid-morning, when it left me relieved but exhausted.

This evening, my dearest friend called me, and we had a wonderful talk. We’ve both done a lot of changing over the last year or so, and understand the importance, however annoying it may be, of all of this processing.

So for now, I’m happy to sleep – happy to snuggle my pup – and let go.

Changes

The last few weeks have been some of the hardest I’ve ever had. I felt very rejuvenated during the last post, but by the end of that week, I was really struggling. Basically as soon as my husband and I started actively looking for a new place, anxiety set in in a very powerful way.  Normally when I’m anxious, my  work distracts me – Not this time. Panicky thoughts and physical discomfort found it’s way into my classroom, even though I had a concert and a competition to prepare for.

One sick day taken, a trip to Urgent Care and the ER, a concert, a competition, and a 36 hour whirlwind move later, here I am.  It seems like the anxiety likes to set in during the late afternoon and hang around until I’m ready to sleep.

Anxiety is such a strange phenomenon. How can something that feels so real, be a creation of my own mind? How can my emotional upheaval take over my body? And why oh why do the symptoms have to be the same as a heart attack, so every time I call a nurse hotline, they have to recommend I go to the emergency room?

The last few weeks have been the hardest for my marriage as well. This was the first difficult period when we, I guess because we were in such shock, didn’t cling to each other for comfort, but rather pulled away from each other. Not in a huge way, but the distance is noticeable.  Now that we have all of our things with us in our own home – no more bouncing between friends’ houses, living out of suitcases – I think we’ll find our way back. There is definitely already more communication and laughter.

Change is one of those things that gets  set into motion when you least expect it, and won’t budge into being when you most need it. I think it comes down to who is in control. When change is in control, it’s frustrating, maddening. But when we have the ability to make good changes happen, we’re hesitant to do so.

I think the build up of anxiety has a lot to do with me wanting control of this situation. Maybe in some twisted way, my sub-consciousness is saying, “Oh yeah? If I don’t have a say in this, I’ll just make you believe you’re physically ill, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The good news is, there is something I can do about it. I can acknowledge and let go of the feelings, redirect my thoughts, talk to friends, family, my therapist, go on long walks, DO YOGA, cook yummy food, go back to work, organize my house, love my husband, play with my dog…

Favorite recipe from this week: baked chicken legs.

Breathing until next time. 🙂